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How To Tell The Truth At Work (Part 3 of 3)

Oct 29, 2007
Here are more tips for telling the truth in your own workplace.

Understanding and using these principles will help you feel more confident about the choices you make and help you develop the skills you need to tell the truth with grace and skill.

* Think about how what you say will impact the other person.

Often, truth-telling is perceived as criticism. Before criticizing someone, put yourself in their shoes by answering the following questions.

* Are they in any shape to hear this?
* Have they heard it before?
* Can they do anything about it?
* Am I committed enough that I would be willing to stay overtime to work this through?
* Am I positive that this criticism is really about them and not about myself - something I don=t want to take responsibility for?
* Is it possible that maybe what they really need is more validation?

* Build rapport and trust. It doesn't do any good to tell the truth to someone who isn't ready to hear it.

You can help someone get ready to hear what is true for you, if you first take the time to learn what is true for them.

One easy way to do this is to listen carefully to what they say to you and check your understanding by paraphrasing it back to them and asking if you have heard them correctly. Many books and training programs provide instruction for this active listening technique.

* Don't always tell the truth; sometimes asking questions to understand the other's truth is more valuable.

When you strongly disagree with other's positions about something, sharing your own opposite beliefs may lead to conflict and cut off further conversation. To create a dialog instead of an argument, try asking for more detailed explanations of their views.

Although you feel tempted to refute their positions, keep listening and asking questions until you feel you understand how they have arrived at their beliefs, and why those beliefs are important to them. When you reach this point decide whether or not it now seems useful or important to share your own truth.

* Express your truth in a way that communicates that the other person is valuable and important to you.

Most people want to know that you care, before they care what you know.

Listening is one way of showing that you care. Not interrupting is another. Expressing your genuine appreciation for something that they have said or done helps others know you care about them. You also show interest when you remember and refer to personal information they have previously shared with you.

* Share your experiences - what you see, hear, feel, intuit - before your conclusions and interpretations; invite others person to do the same.

When sharing your experiences, first describe what you have noticed (seen, heard, or felt). Then ask whether your interpretations and conclusions are correct.

You might say "I noticed..., I believe it means that..., Am I right?"
About the Author
Learn more about these principles by reading the stories of ordinary people who are learning about how to tell the truth effectively in The Integrity Course.
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. is a Master Certified Coach and communication expert. Dr. Weiss has spent 35 years helping clients resolve conflict in business and personal relationships. Email feedback@laurieweiss.com
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